With an innovative strategy and ambitious targets, East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) is developing a new model of local government that will protect and improve services for the future.
East Hampshire District Council’s Annual Report 2015-16, which is called Overview, tracks the progress of the council in the last financial year, and there are many positives to take from it.
By finding alternative sources of income and making efficiencies during 2015-16, the council has been able to reduce its share of residents’ Council Tax by two per cent. EHDC is possibly the only council in the country to have done this.
The council is leading the way with the transformation of Whitehill & Bordon following the departure of the Army from the town. The town was awarded Healthy New Town status and this will make the town a blueprint for how other communities across the country can be healthier and more vibrant. Whitehill & Bordon is one of only 10 towns in the country to be named a Healthy New Town.
Over the year the council has delivered over 100 daily services to over 4,000 businesses and 116,000 people, with a keen eye on value for money and the needs of customers. The council has also achieved:
- Funding for sporting talent and apprenticeships, grants for local community groups and money into business start-ups that are supporting the district’s residents, businesses and visitors.
- Prudent investments in property that are providing better returns than low savings interest rates.
- Efficiencies are also being made, including joining with Havant Borough Council in an innovative procurement project to manage back office services that is forecast to save £3.8m over an eight year contract and a shared team managing a contract to deliver waste collection and landscape services.
Leader of EHDC, Councillor Ferris Cowper, said: “While other local authorities are cutting services and increasing Council Tax rates, East Hampshire District Council is bucking that trend.
“We realised long ago that local government can no longer expect to rely on grants from central government. That’s why we have been working towards removing our reliance on those grants by 2019-20. Cutting our share of Council Tax for 2016-17 was the first step towards independence.
“Our music festival, Butserfest continues to delight local young people and attract visitors from all over the country with the 10th Butserfest taking place on Saturday 10 September.
“We have funded Police Community Support Officers that are solely based in East Hampshire and are helping to maintain the safety of our communities.
“We have also helped local communities to develop neighbourhood plans, that are informing the decisions made by our planning committees and ensuring that new developments work for local people.
“Our ambitious and adaptable staff have embraced the challenges that have faced them, finding opportunities to improve services, save money and generate income.
“With devolution of powers on the government’s agenda, East Hampshire District Council is showing that taxpayers’ money is safe in our hands.”
To view the annual report online or download an interactive PDF, go to www.easthants.gov.uk/annualreport